Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia Episode 6: A capricious goddess

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Ishtar is summoned

It kind of felt like there was a lot going on this week, but I liked learning more about Ishtar. Along with that, we got a little bit of focus on Ushiwakamaru as well, so I’d say the characters are getting more fleshed out. If anything, I’d say the show doesn’t have the strongest sense of direction, but I think that might be changing with this episode’s discussion of the Three Goddesses Alliance.

Gilgamesh gives the gang a task

This might change next week, but I thought it was funny that the Tablet of Destinies ultimately ends up being a glorified fetch quest. Ritsuka ends up just getting it in the end, and Ishtar fights him for it despite not having any idea what it is. That being said, I do think it was an entertaining way to introduce the idea of visiting the underworld.

Ana is ready to go

I really liked this episode’s character moments. Ana’s enthusiasm for the quest was really cute, despite being a small scene. In addition to that, Ushiwakamaru’s interaction with Ritsuka was a nice touch, given that she’s based on a Japanese legend. I liked seeing her sense of pride in how her story has come to life in Ritsuka.

Ritsuka enters the underworld

Ritsuka’s journey to the underworld was a bit jarring, but I think it works overall. Gilgamesh mentions that he lost the Tablet of Destinies while walking through Kutha and the underworld, so it’s not crazy that Ritsuka would find it there. I would have liked to know more about Ziusa-dra, though.

Ishtar flies away

The fight against Ishtar was great in this episode. Even when you ignore the combat, the scenes where Ishtar floats around also looked great. I might be biased because I have her character in the game, but I thought that this scene in particular was awesome.

Ishtar is tied up

I’ve seen enough anime to know where this is going.

Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia Episode 5: Day off with Gilgamesh

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Gilgamesh joins the party

Well, this week’s episode certainly escalated quickly, but it was cool to see Gilgamesh in action. I find this whole deal with Enkidu to be interesting so far, since he’s clearly struggling with something. His relationship with Gilgamesh also seems to have some complexity to it. Personally, I felt like the battle in this episode wasn’t as impressive as previous ones, but maybe that’s just me.

Gilgamesh talks with the people

Maybe it’s just the added layer of seeing him in his element, but this version of Gilgamesh seems to have a lot more going for him. I think it’s great to see how he interacts with his subjects in this episode. He comes off as a reasonable king. In addition to that, his interactions with Mash and Ritsuka felt nice and genuine.

Gilgamesh talks with the observatory workers

This one scene in the observatory did have me curious. It comes across as another one-off scene showing Gilgamesh at work, but it has the foreboding nature of a secret meeting. It seems innocent enough, but I wonder if Gilgamesh is working on something else in the background.

Gilgamesh brings up a memory with Enkidu

I really liked Gilgamesh’s entrance here. It’s cool that he and Enkidu have similar abilities, and it was hilarious to hear him call Enkidu out for claiming to come up with his tactics. As for the fight itself, it leaned more towards the flashy side with the massive energy blasts and whatnot. It’s not the kind of thing I tend to find appealing, but I still think there were some good moments with Gilgamesh’s axe.

Gilgamesh analyzes Enkidu

I would normally think that Gilgamesh is just saying things here, but this episode actually does back up what he says. In the final moments, we clearly see Enkidu miss his attack on Gilgamesh, so it’s completely within reason to say that Gilgamesh narrowly avoided death. It seems like Enkidu might be battling against his real personality, since he’s having trouble fighting against his old friend.

Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia Episode 4: The great tiger

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The Mage King taunts the heroes

I’m probably in the same boat, but I can imagine this episode makes less sense for people who haven’t played the game. Jaguarman’s entrance was definitely a hilarious development, but this week’s episode shines the light more on Ritsuka’s internal struggle. It’s nice to see that the series is getting back to the action, but this story certainly feels like it’s drawing more heavily from previous singularities that haven’t been adapted.

Mash comforts Ritsuka

That being said, I don’t think it’s too hard to piece things together. I skipped through most of the story in the game, and I basically concluded that those scenes were from Camelot. Presumably, Ritsuka was able to recover the Holy Grail in that singularity, but he did so at great personal cost. As a result, he’s come to question the sacrifices he’s had to make along the way.

The people of Ur refuse rescue

I think that’s what makes this episode better, as Ritsuka’s now forced to reconcile his personal feelings with what he sees in Ur. As he’s agonizing over his past decisions, the people in Ur are perfectly willing to sacrifice their own in order to survive. Given the general story behind this singularity, it’s a great analogue to Chaldea’s own mission of saving humanity from extinction. The individual losses that Ritsuka has suffered due to his decisions could be seen as similar sacrifices for the sake of humanity.

Merlin notices an irregularity with the Holy Grail

I’m surprised at how casual this discussion about Gilgamesh’s fake Holy Grail is. The main characters have been spending a lot of time ingratiating themselves in order to get the grail, so I would have expected some outrage. I guess it’s never a bad thing to be on the king’s good side.

Jaguarman attacks Ana

On a completely different note, the fight against Jaguarman was pretty awesome. She feels like such a joke character, but the fight still looked good. I guess it shows that Taiga is not to be trifled with.

Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia Episode 3: Please the king

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Ana being forced to fight

Picking up from last week, this episode follows the Chaldea gang as they attempt to curry favor with Gilgamesh. I thought it was funny that it started with the suggestion of joining the front lines in defense of Uruk, but it ultimately ends up being menial side quests. It’s something you would expect from a typical RPG, but Fate/Grand Order isn’t actually that kind of game. But as a whole, I liked the fight against Gilgamesh and the expanded focus on Ana.

Gilgamesh faces off against Mash and Ana

As I’ve said before, I think the choreography of the fights in this series is impressive. The fight against Gilgamesh was cool to watch, and the later fight against Ishtar is probably better. It feels like the episode is devoting time to showing the fight unfold, rather than using flashy energy attacks.

Gilgamesh reveals the Holy Grail

Another thing I like about this arc is that the line between allies and enemies isn’t super clear. Gilgamesh isn’t acting like a bad king, but he’s standing in Chaldea’s way when it comes to their mission of recovering the Grail. In contrast, the Goddess Alliance is clearly made up of enemies of humanity, but they also happen to have the same goal as the main characters. It seems like it would be very easy for alliances to sway in this story.

Ishtar isn't concerned for the main characters at all

Ishtar’s really great at channeling her inner Rin.

Ishtar traps Mash

My favorite part about Ishtar’s fight against Mash and Ana is seeing her use Ana’s chains to restrain Mash. That seems like a great way to fight against multiple enemies. Also, the part where she kicks Ana in the stomach felt impactful.

Chaldea meets the summoned Servants

Oh hey, I guess we get introduced to the other Servants in this episode. Given that they were summoned by Gilgamesh, I do wonder whether they’re meant to be future allies or foes, but I guess it’s good to meet them.

Ana doesn't want to contract with Ritsuka

Watching Ana interact with Uruk was also great. She seems to be softening up a lot as a character, and it’s cool to see. I’m not sure how much I’m supposed to be treating her like a kid, though.

Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia Episode 2: Meeting Merlin

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Enkidu looks over the battle

Strangely enough, I thought that this episode was much more entertaining than the first episode, despite liking Ishtar as a character from the game. The visuals were less noticeably jarring in this episode, and I think the story seems initially interesting. Oh, and the facial expressions in this episode helped. I really can’t help myself in that regard.

Enkidu's secret is discovered

This series wastes no time with Enkidu’s betrayal. It makes for a pretty cool fight, and I think the development itself comes out of nowhere. I think it’s great that Merlin ends up using historical knowledge to reveal that Enkidu had been lying.

Roman can't accept Merlin

Merlin’s entrance as a whole is hilarious. I liked his interactions with Da Vinci and Roman (and Fou, for that matter). There’s also something funny about him being labeled as the “embodiment of dishonesty” when he’s the one who pointed out Enkidu’s own deception.

Merlin is a dishonest man

Merlin’s own story as a Servant is a bit sketchy, though. I guess it makes sense that he’s being summoned to an era in which he doesn’t exist, but using the “dead before you were born” argument seems questionable. When Emiya was summoned from the future, at least he had died in the future.

Ana accepts some cookies

This is definitely a tangent, but Ana is surprisingly adorable.

Ritsuka and Mash meet Gilgamesh

I also like Gilgamesh’s portrayal in this episode. We immediately see him acting as a fairly responsible king, which is in line with his portrayal in Fate/Stay Night. He’s ambitious and possessive, but he respects his subordinates. I’m curious to see how his fight against Mash and Ritsuka will go next week.

Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia First Impressions (1): Humanity’s last stand

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Ritsuka and Mash fall into Mesopotamia

I look forward to being reamed for having played this game while only paying half attention to the story. I might have had a chance, but it seems that the series decided to skip right to singularity seven. On that note, I’ll say upfront that I think this episode makes more sense if you’ve watched First Order (it was an OVA from a while back). With that out of the way, I thought that this episode was entertaining. It jumps right into things and features some fun introductions.

The seventh Grail is found

If you’re not as familiar with the story, the series follows the activity of Chaldea, a magical organization tasked with defending the future of humanity. They do this by using “Rayshift” technology to send Masters to the past to fix anomalies. After one of their leaders betrays them, humanity is left with only one remaining Master, Ritsuka Fujimaru (which is why he’s referred to as the “Last Master” in this episode). Together with Mash Kyrielight, his Servant, he travels to save humanity from extinction by recovering the Holy Grail left in each time period.

Ritsuka and Mash miss their target

As you may have gathered from the episode, the Babylonia story takes place in Ancient Mesopotamia, the last of the seven main time periods from the game. From my own experience, this was a singularity that took a while to clear, so I’m probably coming at this series with a slightly biased opinion.

Mash faces off against an Uridimmu

From a visual perspective, I thought that this episode felt a bit weaker in comparison to the other mobile game adaptations. In particular, the enemy Uridimmu looked ridiculous in many of their scenes. However, I think that it does a much better job with the fight choreography. The attacks make sense and they’re easy to follow. The series also seems to commit to the gore when the enemies die.

Ishtar meets her cushion

I also liked Ishtar’s portrayal in this episode. Her fight scene is great (for one reason or another), and her personality is hilarious. She’s arguably just a clone of Rin for this series, but I can’t really complain.

Enkidu explains the situation

I look forward to seeing this story unfold. Humanity has put together one last stronghold to face off against the gods, which sounds cool. It has that “catastrophe” vibe to it that I tend to like.

Lord El-Melloi II Case Files Final Episode (13): Wrapping up

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Caules talks about his sister

Well, this episode doesn’t really wrap things up, but I think it’s a decent character moment for Waver right up at the end. Gray has a cute moment with Waver when she finally gives him the gift, but I don’t think there was much else. I think this series worked well as a Fate series, but I didn’t think it worked as a mystery show. It’s kind of a shame, since I think it would be a good combination, but the show was enjoyable overall.

Adashino admits her identity

I like this moment. It’s something we’ve seen before, but I’d forgotten about it with the arrival of Doctor Heartless. Now that I think about it, I think the series cut to Adashino when Luvia and Shishigou figure out that she’s related to Heartless. I think that’s a solid use of misdirection at that time.

Waver sacrifices his Magical Crest

Other than that, I think this episode was mostly flavor. I guess it sets Waver up some more for a potential second season, but I thought it meandered a bit.

Waver gives up on the Grail War

I thought it was cool to see Waver give up on the Grail War in the end. It’s been said to him multiple times throughout the series, but he was clearly trying to give himself peace while pretending to honor his friend’s legacy. In the end, he chooses to move forward on his own path to truly honor Iskandar.

Waver has one last chat with Iskandar

I liked this scene at the end between Waver and Iskandar a lot. It felt like Waver was finally owning up to himself and moving forward. Looking back, I think he ends up with a decent character arc, ultimately finding his role as the teacher.

Final Score: 7/10

Lord El-Melloi II Case Files Episode 12: True identity

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Melvin has no idea what's going on

Well, this wasn’t a bad episode to end the arc. I felt like everything fit together in the end, and I understood more than I did in previous episodes. That being said, I don’t think I was properly equipped with the knowledge to guess the culprit before Waver’s final deduction (evidenced by the fact that I got it wrong last week even after it was technically revealed). Perhaps, this is one of those mysteries that’s better watched the second time around.

Caules admits to everything

I know that Waver explains that the healing magic was what tipped him off to Caules, but was that really the only hint? It might be enough for him to go off of, given that he’s Caules’s teacher, but it’s not a great clue for the audience. If I watch this arc again, I wonder how much I’ll be able to pick up on things that Heartless does as Caules.

Waver puts it all together

While pinpointing the exact culprit wasn’t the easiest task, I do commend the arc for making it pretty clear that a third party was involved. I’m not sure how I feel about the attempts to misdirect through Adashino, but I don’t think that Heartless came out of nowhere. I think the show does a good job of tying him together with the Animusphere investigation and the detour into the Forest of Einnashe in the previous episodes. His connection to the previous arcs are admittedly more shaky, though.

Faker reveals herself

I thought only Fate/Grand Order was allowed to make up new Servant classes.

Karabo faces off against Faker

While the final battle was a bit of a mishmash of powers, I really liked Karabo’s fight against Faker. Based on the visual presentation of this scene, it looks like Karabo was using the memories of Faker’s attacks against her. If so, I think that’s an amazing way to fight, since it’s taking advantage of the enemy’s strength while keeping track of the flow of battle.

Gray releases Rhongomyniad

Given how the episode cuts off in the end, I wonder what the next episode will be. This battle seems incomplete, so I find it hard to believe that it will be a new one-episode mystery. Is there going to be some sort of epilogue? If you ask me, they’re making it out like Faker and Heartless are set to return as recurring enemies.

Lord El-Melloi II Case Files Episode 11: Suspenseful bidding

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Gray comments on the complaints

Yeesh, this series really does enjoy its cliffhangers, doesn’t it? Anyway, it seems like we’re right up at the conclusion for this story. Given that this week’s episode ends with Waver seemingly pointing out a culprit, I wonder what is left for the last episode in the arc. Hephaestion’s story is still unresolved, so it could just be an extended battle.

Waver doesn't recognize Hephaestion

Well, Hephaestion’s comment about being a replica like Gray is becoming more interesting. I forgot that Waver saw all of Iskandar’s subjects, so he has more expertise here than I thought he did. Waver later acknowledges that she could just be using the name Hephaestion, so maybe there’s more to it.

Olga-Marie despises Waver

I get that Olga-Marie didn’t have the greatest relationship with her father, but this statement makes her incredibly pitiful. I can certainly understanding wanting to hear praise for your effort, but she’s not giving herself the best of representations.

Waver realizes Adashino was holding out

Adashino’s not making a great case for herself in this episode. As I’ve said before, I mostly see her as too obvious to be the culprit, so I have a hard time accepting it. However, the scene at the end of the episode certainly seems convincing. She seems to be activating something with Trisha’s head.

Waver makes an outrageous bid

The auction scene seemed a bit off to me. Waver puts effort into winning the auction only to effectively give it up in the end. Is there meant to be more to the bidding after his deduction? I get that he most likely needed to see how the auction played out to make his conclusion, but I wonder if the series will explain that. Stopping the auction seemed like a desperate play for him, which makes me wonder how much he actually has planned.

No head then dead

I mean, I guess this is what I should expect from a Fate show.

Lord El-Melloi II Case Files Episode 10: The nature of the crime

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Waver has a mental argument with Kayneth

It’s certainly starting to feel like the pieces of this mystery are coming together. It’s nice to see Waver back in action this week, since many of the characters seem somewhat hopeless without him. I’m not sure I’m totally on board with how the time manipulation is being used in this episode, but the way it’s invoked is interesting, at least. I don’t know if it’s because I inherently have trouble following this series, but I’m not sure I’m convinced of the culprit yet.

Waver wishes to see Iskandar again

I liked Waver’s mental argument with Kayneth, even if Kayneth isn’t my favorite character in the world. I think Waver has decent motivation for joining the Grail War again, even if he acknowledges that Iskandar wouldn’t recognize him. He just wants to prove that Iskandar had the qualifications to win all along.

Gray is a replica

I think I’m okay with the fact that the battle between Gray and Hephaestion just ends. I wonder if Hephaestion’s interactions with Gray are meant to parallel Iskandar’s past with Waver in some way. I’m curious about the fact that Hephaestion says that she and Gray are the same while commenting on Gray being a replica of Saber.

Trisha prepares for her death

Trisha’s involvement in her own death didn’t go the way I expected, but I like how it was used here. Adashino as a character seems to perpetually rub me the wrong way, but I do like the idea of Trisha attempting to hide her eyes even if she couldn’t avoid her death.

Waver asks for motive

I have trouble buying Adashino as the culprit, even if the series seems to be pointing at her. The scene cuts to her after Luvia mentions the “man without a heart” having a sister-in-law on the train, and she certainly seems to know too much. I definitely don’t buy Karabo as the culprit, since he seems to have no control over his eyes.

Melvin attempts to buy back the eyes

Well, that’s one way to solve the problem. Hey, Melvin’s here to be useful, right?